Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during his daily news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic outside his residence at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, on Saturday, April 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Should a vaccine for COVID-19 be made mandatory in Canada, once it’s created?

Roughly 60 per cent of Canadians think so, according to the latest Leger poll

The world could be months to years away from developing a vaccine against COVID-19, but the novel coronavirus’s disruption of daily life has some Canadians hoping that immunizations will be made mandatory.

According to results from an online Leger poll released on Tuesday (April 28), 60 per cent of 1,515 Canadian respondents said they think a vaccine should be mandatory once one is created, tested and approved. The remaining 40 per cent said it should be voluntary.

Broken down by province, support for a mandatory vaccine was a view shared highest in Atlantic Canada, at 63 per cent, followed by 62 per cent in Ontario. The poll found 52 per cent of respondents from Manitoba and Saskatchewan support a mandatory vaccines, the lowest across all provinces.

B.C. respondents were split 60 per cent for mandatory vaccination, 40 per cent for it to be voluntary.

Meanwhile, the 1,016 respondents from the United Stats were split 50-50 on the issue.

READ MORE: 70% of Canadians agree with mandatory measles vaccine for children: poll

READ MORE: Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

While the online poll could not include a margin of error, meaning it cannot be entirely exact, it is the first to shed light on what could become a contentious public health debate once a vaccine is ready.

COVID-19 has done its share of damage in Canada in recent months, forcing thousands out of work, sparking bans and restrictions on public outings and a temporary closure of the country’s borders.

At least 48,000 Canadians have contracted the contagious respiratory illness. Roughly 2,700 people, most of those seniors, have died due to or related to the virus.

Vaccines are not mandatory in Canada.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it is too soon to speak on whether any immunizations would be required.

“We still have a fair bit of time to reflect on that in order to get it right,” Trudeau said, adding that there may be treatments that help manage the spread of the novel coronavirus as countries look for a vaccine, similar to the current response to HIV/AIDS as researches have gone years hunting for a vaccine to no avail.

“There are obviously going to be extremely important decisions around how to best get to that level of vaccination that will prevent further spread of COVID-19,” Trudeau said.

“There’s a lot of studies done on that over the past years in terms of what threshold of the population needs to vaccinated in order to prevent any spread of a disease and that research will obviously inform decisions we take around the COVID-19 vaccine when it comes.”

The federal government has provided $275 million in funding for vaccine and antiviral development and clinical trials globally, including $27 million across 47 teams of scientists researching the novel coronavirus.

In B.C., this isn’t the first time in recent years that policy on vaccinations has become the talking point of an infectious disease. In 2019, the province launched a mandatory immunization program across schools to stamp out a resurgence of the contagious measles disease.

Health Minister Adrian Dix launched the province-wide program and a target of immunizing 95 per cent of residents, with the exception being exemptions for medical or “philosophical reasons,” he said at the time.

In September 2019, as school returned, the province also implemented a mandatory vaccine record check.

A poll by Angus Reid Institute conducted that year suggested that that 70 per cent of Canadians believed in mandatory vaccinations in children. Roughly 24 per cent said it should be the parent’s choice, while seven per cent were undecided on the issue.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said earlier this month that there likely won’t be a mass vaccination process.

“We do have plans across the province for mass vaccination clinics,” she said. “I would not see us having mandatory immunization for this.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Langford cuts red tape, engages in random acts of kindness to uplift spirits

‘I Am Langford’ campaign promotes supporting local

Loss of UVic dog park deals a blow to socially anxious pets

Owners of non-socialized dogs seek safe space following closure of Cedar Hill Corner

Residents around Sidney’s Reay Creek Pond welcome federal remediation efforts

It is not clear yet whether Sidney will renovate nearby dam at the same time

Public to weigh in on Colwood Royal Bay development Monday

Application to rezone lands north of Latoria Boulevard submitted to council

Camp fun still offered in Greater Victoria

Easter Seals offers day camp options to replace cancelled overnight camps

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read